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Will it be about a group of children at a fairground who get transported to a fantasy world and each become a different one of the game's classes, and their struggle to return home?

 

I mean, it's not as if they could tell any other story with the D&D licence, is it?

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4 hours ago, Nick R said:

Will it be about a group of children at a fairground who get transported to a fantasy world and each become a different one of the game's classes, and their struggle to return home?

 

I mean, it's not as if they could tell any other story with the D&D licence, is it?

I dunno, the Dragonlance stuff is pretty good.

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Does Dungeons & Dragons have some particular USP that sets it aside from other fantasy fare? Other than the 80s animated series, I've never had any exposure to it beyond knowing it's a very popular RPG game, so I'm curious.

 

I mean, could someone create a film called Cellars and Sorcerors and basically use all the same stuff? Or just make up a title like The Priest Lords of Castledwell and, again, use all the same sort of stuff?

 

Or are they just using D&D because it's a known name and likely to attract audiences to a movie set in a generic fantasy setting more than my hastily concocted examples above?

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Not sure about the current owners, but TSR used to be incredibly litigious and protective of their IP, and would sue anyone who made something that looked like it was derived from Dungeons and Dragons, or even used the word "dungeon" in a related context.

 

The actual D&D settings are mostly about as generic as fantasy gets, but there's something quite comforting and reassuring about just how generic they are. If you want sword and sorcery roleplaying, then you will get exactly that - there are no surprises in the settings. It's all dark forests, ruined castles, evil lich kings, etc etc, but there is a certain richness and earnestness that goes into the lore that makes it quite appealing.

 

Not quite sure why you'd make a D&D film, but I guess the different campaign settings are so big and broad that you could do whatever kind of story you liked. Personally, I'd do a Forgotten Realms film based on the aesthetic of the illustrations in the sourcebooks they published in the eighties, so that everyone has massive blow-dried hair, and looks like they're in a Heart tribute band.

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21 minutes ago, FishyFish said:

Does Dungeons & Dragons have some particular USP that sets it aside from other fantasy fare? Other than the 80s animated series, I've never had any exposure to it beyond knowing it's a very popular RPG game, so I'm curious.

 

I mean, could someone create a film called Cellars and Sorcerors and basically use all the same stuff? Or just make up a title like The Priest Lords of Castledwell and, again, use all the same sort of stuff?

 

Or are they just using D&D because it's a known name and likely to attract audiences to a movie set in a generic fantasy setting more than my hastily concocted examples above?

 

Tunnels and Trolls, famously.

 

The latter, btw, recognised property. I suppose they could use the choice gimmick from the cartoon.

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19 minutes ago, K said:

Not quite sure why you'd make a D&D film, but I guess the different campaign settings are so big and broad that you could do whatever kind of story you liked. Personally, I'd do a Forgotten Realms film based on the aesthetic of the illustrations in the sourcebooks they published in the eighties, so that everyone has massive bow-dried hair, and looks like they're in a Heart tribute band.

 

The Majere Twins stuff could make a decent series if reworked a bit. Particularly the War of the Twins stuff.

 

Or, if they were fucking mad, The Kingdom of the Petal Throne.

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59 minutes ago, K said:

Not sure about the current owners, but TSR used to be incredibly litigious and protective of their IP, and would sue anyone who made something that looked like it was derived from Dungeons and Dragons, or even used the word "dungeon" in a related context.

 

Also, TSR were bastards considering they were nicking from Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, Rob E. Howard wholesale.

 

They really screwed over the likes of Weis and Hickman over the rights to their novels with lousy "work for hire" contracts.

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D&D itself doesn’t have a USP, but there are things closely related that do, Dragonlance; Forgotten Realms’ key characters like Drizzt Duorden (sp?); Planescape. None of which I know much about. 
 

It’s also moved away from standard Tolkien/Sword & Sorcery to a kind of catch-all kitchen sink fantasy full of anthropomorphic animals and 1/2 devils/angels/elementals. (Okay they have been around for a while but are much more in focus as player character races now.)  it looks more like the Mos Eisley Cantina than the Fellowship of the Ring these days. 
 

TSR were big on legal disputes right from the start when Gary Gygax sought to raise his contribution to the game so far above David Arneson’s that he created a new version he could claim as his own, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.  That then became properly litigious when Gygax was ousted from TSR (“They Sue Regularly”) including suing Gygax several times.

 

In fact a boardroom thriller about a small town odd ball who creates a global phenomenon, moves to Hollywood only to see his company pulled from under him and his future creative endeavours mired in litigation might be more entertaining than whatever generic fantasy stuff this film comes up with. Me, I’ll probably just watch Hawk the Slayer again, that’s a D&D film. 

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14 hours ago, JohnC said:

I think it's because Hasbro own it now and they are keen to make more movies of their properties. So much so they bought a movie studio last year and are using it to make this.

 

Plus the game itself has had a big resurgence over the last few years, at least partially thanks to streamed games like Acquisitions Inc & Critical Role.. so if they're going to do it at all, now is the time..

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1 hour ago, MDY said:

Plus the game itself has had a big resurgence over the last few years, at least partially thanks to streamed games like Acquisitions Inc & Critical Role.. so if they're going to do it at all, now is the time..


I definitely agree with that. 3ed in the early 00s was the first edition released to make use of the internet to connect the fan base. 5ed has really used social media to expand the fan base. 

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To most people, I would say Dungeons & Dragons is the game rather than any of the settings, so I would hazard a guess that the film would play into that and involve some element of people playing the game in the real world (even if that's not the primary storyline, like in the Lego Movie). That feels like something that would appeal to a wider audience than a Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance film - Dragonlance in particular takes itself a bit too seriously.

 

Who knows, maybe they're going to blow everyone's mind and go all-in on the Spelljammer cinematic universe. 

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They do have a bunch of IP that they're protective of: mind flayers, beholders, that sort of thing. Any of the "famous" characters from terrible tie-in novels are not particularly compelling in movie terms.

 

I quite like that it's being adapted by the little guy on the right:

 

image.png.e1885b50f906965be29baff9415f0f8f.png

 

Maybe Carlos the Dwarf will turn up.

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8 minutes ago, Uncle Mike said:

Although then you just end up remaking Jumanji, don't you?

 

I'm sure there's a way of doing it that wouldn't involve the people-getting-sucked-into-the-game-world storyline, or at least let you put a new spin on it, but yeah, Jumanji would cast a long, stinky, shadow over that approach. But given the filmmakers' backgrounds and the inherent difficulties in trying to sell a film about tie-in novel characters with stupid names ("Ansel Elgort IS Drizzt Do'Urden! Tuppence Middleton IS Catti-Brie!"), or at least not make audiences piss themselves laughing when their names appear on screen, I suspect that's the approach they're going to take.

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I honestly think the cartoon set up is probably the best way to go.

It anchors the film in our own reality without feeling too much like a Jumanji rip-off and offers a look into the D&D universe through the eyes of relatable characters.

Plus you get the whole nostalgia audience too. They may as well go the whole hog and set the 'real world' bits in the 80s.

The search for a way home sets up odds that a casual audience can get behind and understand too. 

I'd probably go for a story in which they sacrifice their way home for the good of the D&D realm, setting up a sequel. 

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12 hours ago, The Hierophant said:

D&D itself doesn’t have a USP, but there are things closely related that do, Dragonlance; Forgotten Realms’ key characters like Drizzt Duorden (sp?); Planescape. None of which I know much about. 
 

It’s also moved away from standard Tolkien/Sword & Sorcery to a kind of catch-all kitchen sink fantasy full of anthropomorphic animals and 1/2 devils/angels/elementals. (Okay they have been around for a while but are much more in focus as player character races now.)  it looks more like the Mos Eisley Cantina than the Fellowship of the Ring these days. 
 

TSR were big on legal disputes right from the start when Gary Gygax sought to raise his contribution to the game so far above David Arneson’s that he created a new version he could claim as his own, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.  That then became properly litigious when Gygax was ousted from TSR (“They Sue Regularly”) including suing Gygax several times.

 

In fact a boardroom thriller about a small town odd ball who creates a global phenomenon, moves to Hollywood only to see his company pulled from under him and his future creative endeavours mired in litigation might be more entertaining than whatever generic fantasy stuff this film comes up with. Me, I’ll probably just watch Hawk the Slayer again, that’s a D&D film. 

 

Yeah, I teach at third level and a lot of my students are into D&D but their version of it is pretty indistinguishable to me from furries. Every character is a human-animal hybrid and their adventures are mainly about exploring their own identity and subsexual, coded stuff like romantic pairings, etc. A far cry from the old DnD stuff with orcs and trolls I would've known, but not necessarily worse. A lot more girls into it too.

 

Absolutely agree that a Gygax-story type film would be quite interesting, because, in a way, it's a more understandable version of the "Disney claiming the rights to fairy tales" type copyright story but literally easier to understand because it's the whole story with a few characters contained in a few actual years of realtime - from TSR being stopped selling LOTR figurines to TSR threatening legal suits in about three years. ~Then again, at my age, I find real people stories more interesting than fantasy, I suppose. I find Gygax v Arneson really interesting, for example. Arneson is a really mysterious figure.

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19 minutes ago, Mogster said:

I think it will almost certainly involve the game in some form. Shows like Critical Role show how popular the game's become as a spectator thing, so it makes sense to try and capture some of that experience for a movie. 

 

This approach is probably the most logical (although, for some reason, I don't like Critical Role much - they're all too confident and focused for my liking), but I think the ol' "sucked from the real world into an alternate reality" pull is too strong for most Hollywood hacks to resist.

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They could literally just base it around a game of D&D, but have most of it shown as the fantasy world and RP characters while occasionally switching back and forth. Or they could take it further and have them find out somehow that the game is actually affecting a real fantasy world, without them being literally sucked into it.

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13 minutes ago, Festoon said:

 

This approach is probably the most logical (although, for some reason, I don't like Critical Role much - they're all too confident and focused for my liking), but I think the ol' "sucked from the real world into an alternate reality" pull is too strong for most Hollywood hacks to resist.

I'd rather that than the utter toe-curlingly awful opposite paradigm of "The fantasy people get sucked into our world". Fucking awful just about everytime.

 

Gimblethorn the engineer dwarf discovers automobiles, hilarity ensues.

Litherqwixx the fey, elf archer stumbles into a gun store and buys an M16, hilarity ensues.

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